Shark and Australian Rowan Willis looked like they might be the only clean round in the $50,000 FEI 1.45m Grand Prix held during the Columbus International CSI 2* at the Brave Horse Show Park.
Midway through the class of 41 original starters, theirs was the only fault free round. It was not until Cristine McCrea and Dali De Vy, the 29th horse and rider combination to test Anderson Lima’s course, that we saw another faultless performance. It took another ten rides before Liza Finsness and Shiver added their names to the good list. Chippendale’s Boy DZ and Sloane Coles made it a foursome to return for a jump-off.
Lima designed a track that was challenging, a tight time allowed, 74 seconds, as well as a triple bar to a double combination felled quite a few competitors.
Willis and Shark, a 10-year-old bay gelding, set the tone of the jump-off, posting a clear round in a quick time of 45.52 seconds. McCrea tried to catch them with Dali DeVy but while they were penalty free, the time was not fast enough at 46.19 seconds. Chippendale’s Boy DZ and Sloane Coles had the time, 45.05 seconds, but it was at the price of a rail down. Liza Finsness and Shiver also dropped a rail and finished in a time of 48.06 seconds.
“I think this was a good course,” said Willis after the win. “It asked questions all over the place and there were a lot of faults in different areas, not just one jump causing problems. That is the sign of a good course builder.
“Shark is a great horse. I have had him since he was five,” continued Willis. “He is out of the same mare as my good horse Blue Movie, and by Arko III, so he is bred to do the job, and he did the job today.”
The 1.35m National Prix was won by David Blake and Emillia, owned by Pine Hollow Farm. They completed the jump-off course clean in a time of 33.155, just enough to push Todd Minikus and Luken Du Rouet into second place.
“I got to see Todd’s round and I honestly don’t know where I shaved off some time, but obviously I did,” said Blake. “She was great all week, it is good to end on a high!”
Minikus was not left out of the awards, as he took home the check for the “Fistpump Award”, a Split Rock Jumping Tour tradition.
It was another top finish for Kady Abrahamson and Charline 28, as the were victorious in the $7,500 HorseFlight High Junior/Amateur Jumper Final.
“She is the horse of a lifetime,” said Abrahamson. “This makes six classes in a row that we have won this summer. I am just so lucky to get to ride a horse like her.”
Elizabeth Porath and her Tequila Girl won the $5,000 1.10 m Child/Adult Jumper Final in decisive fashion. The pair were third to in the order and laid down a trip that would hold for the remainder of the class.
“Tequila Girl can do this in her sleep as long as I don’t mess up”, said Porath. “We had some great turns in the jump-off, but there was also a lot of luck involved.”